If you were inspired by the record number of people who took on the London Marathon on Sunday, and are thinking about entering yourself into the ballot for 2025, here are some books to help you on your way. The 2024 edition was the biggest ever in the event’s history: more than 53,500 participants crossed the finish line after 54,218 set out from Greenwich and Blackheath on Sunday morning. Wow!

Inspiration abounds and none more so than award-winning BBC broadcaster, TV personality and DJ, Adele Roberts, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in October 2021.The London Marathon 2024 was a record-breaking event for Roberts, who became the fastest woman with a stoma bag to finish the marathon, posting an incredible time of 3:30:22.

Personal Best

Her new book Personal Best is valuable, life-enhancing guide to surviving and thriving through life's challenges and setbacks, illuminating a path that anyone can follow to get back on track, go further than they thought and achieve their personal best in the marathon of life - punctured with inspirational quotes and playlists along the way. Personal Best will help you to take on whatever challenge you may be facing with enough resolution to give yourself the strongest possible chance of success. Adele, you rock.

Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise around the world with 1 in 5 people over 16 in the UK saying they will go running at least monthly in 2024.

According to the Sport England Active Lives Survey which measures sport and physical activity across England, 16.7% of adults participated in running or jogging over the past year. Running is particularly popular with the 35 to 44 age group in the UK, whereby 30.12% say they will run at least monthly in 2024.

If you're tempted to join in, or you are looking for guidance or inspiration, these books are sure to get you up and running.

Coasting by Elise Downing

In 2016 Elise became the youngest person, and first woman, to run around the coast of Britain. She had no experience of ultra-running but felt drawn to the challenge as an antidote to the stresses and anxieties of modern life. With a twist on the classic travel book, Coasting tells the story of her adventure and wonderfully captures the beauty and the wild nature of our coastline. 

How to Run a Marathon by Vassos Alexander

If you're considering the full 26.2 miles, this has all the essential technical advice and insider knowledge to help you succeed in your marathon quest. Author and runner, Vassos, thinks he "can pretty much guarantee that everybody has a marathon in them. It’s not easy – I’m not saying everyone’s got an easy marathon in them – but the fact of it being difficult is sort of the point. It’s such a lovely and iconic challenge. There are almost no exceptions. If you can get yourself round a parkrun – run, jog or walk 3 miles – then you can, with some training, attempt and finish a marathon. Just start slowly - walk-running is fine, it’s a thing! - and gradually increase the mileage starting and ending at your own front door." 

In It for the Long Run by Damian Hall

Fell and trail running are increasingly popular with runners tempted away from pounding the pavement by majestic mountains, forests and rugged cliff paths. The Pennine Way is one of the world's greatest fell running challenges; in July 2020 Damian Hall broke the record for running the length - all 268 miles of it - in just over two days and 17 hours. In It For the Long Run charts the preparation and realisation of this awesome attempt, and gives an insight into the crazy world of ultramarathon. Damian used his record attempt to highlight environmental issues: his attempt was carbon negative, he used no plastics, and he and his pacing runners collected litter as they went, while also raising money for Greenpeace. 

Limitless by Mimi Anderson

If you are looking for inspiration then take it from Mimi Anderson who only started running at the age of 36 - “because I wanted to have slimmer and more toned legs”. She is now one of the world's most accomplished long distanced runners, with numerous records to her name. Mimi also acknowledges the theraputic effects of ultra-running, that her "mental strength has become stronger over the years of running around the world" and she shares this passion and experience in Limitless.

Broken 2020 by Ally Beaven

An absence of organised running races over 2020, due to Covid cancellations, sent runners searching for alternative challenges. Breaking long distance running records became a popular pursuit, their efforts recorded by Ally Beaven, a record-holding fell runner himself. Broken is the story of the summer of 2020, a historic time for running in the UK, with ten different record breaking stories evocatively imagined. It's also a great source for exploring the best running locations around the UK.

Scroll to view all of the titles selected and purchase your favourite. See you on that London marathon start line in 2025?